Austin Kallenberger’s journey here on Earth started on April 11th, 2012 at 1:12am at Mercy Southwest Hospital.  Mom Stephanie went from ecstatic that her little boy was finally here, to fearing for his life when he was rushed away to Mercy’s NICU, and then to the Cedars-Sinai NICU in Los Angeles.  While progress was made, set backs came as well, and on May 15th, little Austin developed aspiration pneumonia because he could not protect his airway due to his low muscle tone and swallowing issues.  The doctors had warned the Kallenberger’s that this day would come, but Austin was never the same after that.  Although he recovered from the pneumonia, he slowly started deteriorating.

The Kallenbergers were faced with making the most difficult decision, and decided to bring baby Austin home on Hospice after spending the first 10 weeks of his life in a hospital.  On June 20th, Austin was finally at home with his family where he belonged.  He got to meet his sisters for the first time along with many family and friends that came to see him.  Austin got to experience so many things at home that he never could have in the hospital.  He got to go swimming, feel the warm sunlight on his face, was able to touch the grass with his toes, watch & listen to his sisters play around him, watch fireworks on the 4th of July, and was present at Lexi’s 2nd birthday party.  He got to feel the warm loving environment of his home instead of the cold bustling hospital.

While at home, Austin continued to get worse.  He showed more new symptoms along the way that pointed to a negative outcome.  Just after his sister’s left to go to Aunt Jenn’s, he started having trouble breathing.  He was using his accessory muscles to breath and Hospice said that was not a good sign.  Austin was now on constant medication to try to keep him comfortable, but there were still times that he was very restless.  Austin’s journey here on Earth ended on July 18th at 6:23 pm when he took his last breath while in his Momma’s arms.

In light of Austin’s precious life, the Kallenberger’s started the “Action for Austin – Bringing HOPE for Halloween” Foundation, with hopes to inspire families going through similar experiences with an ill child.  While on this trying, yet incredible journey, the Kallenberger’s were extremely touched by the hospitals that helped make Austin comfortable, as well as RMHC for allowing them to stay close to their little warrior.  To continue Austin’s legacy, on Halloween, Action for Austin passed out numerous Halloween goodie bags to hospitals & RMHC in honor of little Austin’s beautiful life, as well as to bring hope & inspiration to those facing a critically ill child.  To say the least, Action for Austin brought many smiles & lots of inspiration to RMHC of the Central Valley with something so simple, and we could not be more grateful.

Thank you Kallenberger’s & Action for Austin for honoring your son’s life in such a beautiful way! ♥  Give strength to those who need it most this holiday season, and join the Kallenberger’s in their efforts to make everyone’s holiday season more bright by donating today.  Click here to donate to RMHC families.

To read more about Austin’s story, or for more information about Action for Austin, click here.

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